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In what turned out to be a highly contested series, the Minnesota Lynx over came a 2-1 game deficit in order to come back to the land of lakes and be crowned 2017 WNBA World Champions.
After pulling off a huge game four win at the Staple Center, the Lynx capitalized on the opportunity to play in front of their hometown fans by utilizing a balanced scoring attack to bring the reign of the 2016 champions to an end. From the first tip off, this series has been a back-in-forth battle that almost always came down to the final two minutes of each game.
Showcasing both teams from the previous championship run, the 2017 Finals has been the following chapter in what may become a heated rivalry should both teams end up matched up once again.
Game five did not disappoint. Anchored by the 17 point, on 60% shooting, 20 rebound (seven offensive) four-assist performance by the 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles, the Lynx kept the Sparks at a comfortable distance for most of the contest.
Six-year veteran Maya Moore added 18 points with 10 rebounds to assert the Lynx’s’ dominance on the boards for a second game in a row out rebounding the Sparks 46-29. As balanced scoring was the key to every victory in the series, the Lynx had all five starters in double figures with Rebekkah Brunson adding 13 points with 8 rebounds (five offensive).
The Sparks, being the Champions that they are, would not go quietly into the night setting a frantic pace in the last two minutes and forty-nine seconds of the fourth quarter.
With the Nneka Ogwumike fouling out at the 5:28 mark, the Sparks were left short in the scoring department during the waning moments of what looked like a Lynx’s route. Ignited by a Candace Parker blocked shot, L.A. went on a 7-0 run which featured a huge 3-point foul on Moore drawn by Riquna Williams at the 56 second mark. It was capped off with an Odyssey Sims “And-one” that cut the lead down to 76-79.
Los Angeles’ pressure defense that produced 14 steals for the game kept them close as the Lynx seemed ill-prepared to handle their aggression late in the game. With 26 seconds left on the clock Moore nailed a pull up jump shot off her back foot from 6 feet out to break the Spark’s scoring run and all but seal the victory. Going 0-3 from 3-point range in the last 26 seconds of the game, the Sparks relinquished their crown to Minnesota with a 85 to 76 final in a valiant effort that put the stamp on the series.
Los Angeles had four of their starters in double figures including a 19 point 15 rebound and five assist contribution from Parker. Ogwumike managed 11 points on 66% shooting and three steals in 26 minutes of play while Chelsea Gray added 15 points with eight assist. The finishing touches to what turned out to be a historical Finals with one more match up potentially looming in the future.